Thursday, 15 March 2012

I wanna' have your babies!

The advert for 'One Born Every Minute'
There are one and a quarter babies born every minute on average in the UK. So, Channel 4's documentary 'One Born Every Minute' is pretty much right when it comes to figures. Having said that it is probably pretty spot on at everything it shows.

I've got to admit I'm a huge fan of the show - probably because I love cute little babies! But I enjoy how the show gives prospective mums and people like me an insight into the beautiful (but painful) thing that is child birth.

I've honestly lost count at how many times I've sobbed at this unique programme. I just can't help myself. I think it may be the switch in atmosphere when the woman gives birth, its a mixture of relief, exhaustion and most of all happiness and pure love for the tiny human being laying on their chest.

The show is now on its third series and has so far shown a range of different hospitals around the country. It shows people from all different walks of life; from 16 year old's to 60 year old's, C-Sections to premature babies needing post natal care, women having their fifth child to women with disabilities. Literally everything.

After watching the new series for three episodes, I started to get a bit bored. It just seemed to be the same old, same old. It's difficult for a TV documentary to carry on for three series and not get repetitive. Well, this was until seeing (Series 3, Episode 4). This was an episode that I found particularly moving. It followed Trish and Steve, who seemed like a stereotypical couple at first. This was until we found out that Trish was in fact disabled. She had been in a car crash at a young age which caused brain damage. Trish was charming, funny and ladylike providing, not only the audience with some comic entertainment, but making the midwives cry every five minutes. Seeing someone who couldn't be more opposite to me make her way through the difficult time that is child birth, made me feel incredibly lucky and more hopeful that I could do it one day.

However, after last weeks episode (Series 3, Episode 10) I found my self very put off the idea of child birth. It is a well known fact with my family and friends that I have 'emetophobia' - phobia of vomit. So, found myself cringing away from the TV while the episode highlighted the 'disgusting' side to the birthing experience, hearing and seeing lots of sick. Although it did make me laugh when 19 year old Sheree came out with. "Oh my God. I'm pooing...I can't stop now it's started." This is more of the entertainment I was used to from One Born.

Another part of the documentary that I find entertaining is the Dads. Seeing them cringe and struggle throughout the labour is hilarious. They never know quite where to position themselves and how to respond to their partners death threats. I think what makes me laugh the most is the fact that I know that this is exactly how I would act during child birth. I would want to kill the causer of this pain with my bear hands. But the new dads always seem to redeem themselves when their baby is born, usually with tears.

The role of the midwife is so underestimated in today's society. However, One Born highlights this and makes the midwives seem like Angels dropped from heaven. The role of a midwife is almost like an actor, they have to be cheery all day, every day (even though there's days were they feel down), funny, caring, passionate, serious all in one go. That's a hell of a lot of emotions and actions. They are miracle workers.

We got set a Uni assignment a month or so ago to write a feature, after being a huge fan on the show I decided to write my feature on the role of midwives. This is my feature...

So, I think, in reply to Natasha Bedingfield's 'I wanna' have your babies!" Would she wanna' have anyone's babies, really?!

Feature Fun

The Role of a Community Midwife…Where Does it End? (Mother & Baby Magazine)

There is never a dull moment when it comes to midwifery. Alison Clarke, a community midwife in the East Riding of Yorkshire, sits down to tell us many tales of home births including the time a dog got hold of the placenta.
So where does their role end? Community midwives see all normal pregnancies in their area. They deal with ante-natal (before the birth), post natal (after the birth), and some deliveries. This means that the midwives naturally create strong relationships with the women and their partners.

Alison passionately says that her favourite part of the job is that she feels like part of the family in most cases. “I really like the continuity, the fact that you see the same ladies you know most of the way through. Then you see them again afterwards with the babies…setting off on a nice way of family life.” She also adds that now she has been in the role for a long time, she is seeing the babies of babies she has previously delivered; the second generation, and hopes to see the third.

Being a community midwife for 30 years, Alison has seen a fair few home births, each carrying with them unique stories. She was once called out to a birth in Hull, she arrived at the address realising it was a communal house inhabited by a huge family. When the lady was close to delivery the whole family were in the room to witness the birth as part of their commune. “There wasn’t much space to put anything, so we put the placenta in a bag on the floor and carried on looking after the lady and the baby. I suddenly looked down and the dog was there dragging the placenta around the room and nobody had noticed!”

Alison admits to seeing the weird and the wonderful in her job and says that as long as it is safe for the mother then she is happy to do as they wish. “Sometimes you are in odd situations that you wouldn’t perhaps want yourself to be in, but you’ve got to accept that it’s the woman’s choice. Sometimes what they think of is normal isn’t always what we think of as normal.”

Alison trains student midwives as part of her job helping to give them the practical experience they need. She says how she loves this part of her job and creating bonds with them whilst passing on her knowledge is enjoyable. Alison explains how one student was very keen on doing a home water birth. Again the whole family were there with the mother and her partner. After the delivery she says it was lovely and peaceful. “All of a sudden the little girl said ‘I’ve got a rabbit would you like to see it?’ It was four in the in morning, we’ve got a new mum and a baby in the birthing pool and the little girl is bringing in her menagerie.” An amused Alison goes on to say that the student was utterly shocked, this was her only experience so assumed it was a normal home birth.
Alison’s post natal role, along with other community midwives, is essential. She ensures that the parents are coping with their newborns and creates a relationship where they feel as though they can contact her for any advice. This is especially important as it means that the mother will gain a lot more trust in her midwife.

This is where the job differs greatly from a hospital midwives role. They come into the hospital for a shift and see different women, not always for the delivery, then come in the following day and do the same thing again. They deal solely with the labour aspect of the pregnancy. Alison says. “Obviously you don’t get to know the client as well and there isn’t a great deal of continuity. That’s what the ladies complain about the most, they can be in for two days and see maybe six different midwives.”  But, in the hospitals the midwives get to see all types of pregnancies, complicated and normal.

Since starting her three years of midwifery training in 1982, Alison’s role has changed greatly due to government recommendations. She explains how this has mainly affected the ante-natal care she gives. The NHS used to run clinics with one to one time with the consultant. “It cut down on the amount of people not attending as they didn’t have to travel out and take time and effort and people just sometimes didn’t go. That worked really well and it was nice as well as we saw the normal ladies but also the ones with complications.” However, this was stopped as it wasn’t considered good use of consultant time.

Although, the changes aren’t all bad when it comes to resources. Alison explains that now they have scanning machines so all women can be screened for condition such as Down’s Syndrome. This is a big step up as it allows the women to be prepared for potentially complicated scenarios in their pregnancy.
With the current NHS cuts Alison worries about her job as she doesn’t think that they will continue with community staff forever. The cuts have already started within her every day job role, with more clinics rather than home visits. She notices a huge change in the relationships with her clients and says. “A lot of the things that you see and what you’re looking for depend on what you see at the homes.”

The role of the community midwife is very important to pregnant women, but will the stories of unique home births die out as huge cuts happen in the NHS? No other role would be able to provide such good ante-natal and post natal care.

The role of the midwife has been brought into the limelight recently with two television programmes appearing on our screens.
  • One Born Every Minute – This Channel 4 documentary follows the midwives and parents-to-be at Leeds General Infirmary. It gives an emotional insight into the hospital environment and the realities of giving birth. Shown Wednesdays at 9pm.
  • Call the Midwife – A period drama set in London’s East End in the 1950’s. It follows a newly qualified midwife working alongside nuns in the deprived areas of the capital. Shown Sundays at 8.30pm on BBC One.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Beginning. Middle. End.

On Thursday I logged onto Twitter and as I usually do checked what was 'trending'.

There with the usual celebrity names and 'Stop KONY' was #6wordfilmplots. This got my curiosity going, so I clicked on it. The hash tag was pretty self explanatory. The feed was full of people describing the plot of films in 6 words. As I started reading down the list some were very humorous.
"Extraterrestrial phones home, arranges pick up." - Obviously E.T.
 "Big ship can't sink. It sinks." Titanic.
Well this got Grace and I thinking, what do we actually watch films for? They never actually consist of anything. For example...
 "Robots fight. (Can't expand Transformers to 6 words)"
But, yet we all still watch films on a daily basis and pay extortionate prices to see films at the cinema.

This definitely applies more nowadays with all the different genres of films. I've lost track of how many times I've watched a 'Rom-Com' and predicted the ending - BUT I still buy them and watch them over and over again.

This makes me wonder, do we like them 'nothingness' films? The male species pay to see films like Transformers when it only shows robots fighting for two hours. I suppose the answer is that we enjoy the entertainment and taking me back to my A Level media days, The Uses and Gratifications Theory....We watch films and TV as a talking point socially and also to escape from every day life. You can't do this with thrillers or horrors.

This is why I buy 'Rom-Coms' and love them.

Definitely enticed by this
DVD cover.
Today I watched the film 'Remember Me' released last year *SPOILERS*. I'm not going to lie, I saw the film for a fiver in Tesco's, my main reason for the purchase being that it had Robert Pattinson in it - definitely no wasted time in that!

I was definitely not disappointed with this bargain buy. After 15 minutes of the film I found myself actually intently watching the film rather than intently watching Mr. Pattinson (named Tyler).

As with any other film I did find myself predicting the ending. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. As I watched Tyler and Ally (his new girlfriend) my assumption was that they would have their up and downs, but ultimately end up together. I was definitely right in one sense, they certainly had their ups and downs as we learnt more about tricky relationships with their fathers. But, as soon as I saw my predicted ending and they were back together, they linked the story to September 11th 2001, also known as 9/11, the day the twin towers were attacked.

The techniques used in the film were very good. The audience never saw Tyler die, but only saw the reactions of all his loved ones. Throughout the film these techniques definitely kept me interested, unlike some films. I'd definitely give this one a watch.

'Remember Me' was heading in the right direction and all new films should follow suit and preferably lose the predictability.

The answer is...we shouldn't be able to describe our favourite films in six words. I know I certainly can't.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

So what if I haven't jumped on the KONY bandwagon...

I think that pretty much everyone who is part of the internet world will be aware of the new 'KONY' sensation. If not, basically, an American guy called Jason Russell met a Ugandan boy, Jacob. Jacob and his brother were one of the many children captured by a man called, Joseph Kony. This evil man had kidnapped over 30,000 children away from their families to form some sort of child army, making them 'sex-slaves' and forcing them to kill their parents.

Above is the video that Jason Russell created to 'make Kony famous'.

Jason, has been campaigning for nine years and created this video in the hope that people will watch this and  be aware of the things that are going on. 

Don't get me wrong, the images on the video are very moving, but I can't help but be incredibly sceptical. It may seem like I have a hollow chest or a tin heart because I do believe that this sort of thing actually happens, but how has this not been on the news already?!

Being a 'trainee journalist' news is obviously an important part in my life. So, surely when seeing stories such as; Syria and the death of Gaddafi an issue as huge as this would be at least highlighted on the news. People could say this is down to the fact that they wouldn't want to show such a bad thing on the news, but isn't this what news is all about?! As my lecturer said today, what would be more news worthy...A dog biting a human? OR A human biting a dog? News definitely goes for the shock factor.

In the video it talks about Kony being top on the list of most wanted - Gaddafi was ninth - so Jason is trying to get people aware of this to get troops out to Uganda. In my eyes if this was completely true, or genuine surely they would have people looking for this guy. 

I noticed this story went viral yesterday after seeing the video clutter up my news feed on Facebook and Twitter. So when watching 'This Morning' I was expecting to hear all about this (they usually cover all the twitter stories) considering it was trending for the whole day yesterday. Being unusually sceptical, this got me thinking whether this is just a huge money making scam...

I saw this on Facebook earlier.

"everyone piping up about Kony... what will making him famous help achieve?! he's living in the jungle in Africa. they don't even know if it's in Uganda, Sudan or the Congo.. how will they find him and how will you help by 'liking' a page or sharing a video or putting posters up?! it's been going on for over 20 years but a video goes viral yesterday and everyone is suddenly some activist that knows exactly what's going on there. Uganda have their own army, it's not our fault they haven't found him yet... Why should the US or we get involved when there is nothing in it for us? Just to send our lads in to get slaughtered in a jungle? it could go on for years, no one has a clue where he is.. If you actually know how they're going to get him then feel free to post about it, but if you don't and you're mindlessly sharing some video because you're some bellend wanting to look like you're doing something good then you can just piss off"

This relates to the 'illusion of truth effect', the more people hear something, the more they believe it truth. This is especially highlighted in the present social networking day when information is travelling faster to more people.

My boyfriend forced me to watch this video all the way through, it was very moving, but still didn't convince me and I suppose Grace's reaction was pretty true.

This shows the world is pretty messed up, after seeing this for one day the whole of England are social activists. Six of our soldiers were announced missing and believed killed yesterday, but this has been shadowed by Kony. Next week everyone will all go back to their ignorant lives.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Who's Daniel Radcliffe?

Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter. Of course.

On Celebrity Juice two weeks ago Jake Humphreys threw a quick insult at Danny Dyer about being typecast. Not knowing myself what 'typecast' meant I asked my boyfriend the meaning of the word as it seemed like a pretty pathetic insult. He explained that it means "when a person is always seen as their character from a well-known film/TV show." 

This really got me thinking..... 

Daniel as Harry.
Being a huge Harry Potter fan myself I thought that Daniel Radcliffe is a perfect example. Daniel has played the famous role of Harry Potter, the talented wizard who tries to take on Voldemort, since a very young age. However, all good things must come to an end. So, what could Daniel do now?!

He chooses to jump on board with his ex Potter stars: Rupert Grint (who recently acted as Ed Sheeran in his recent video) and Emma Watson (who went to extremities and chopped off all her hair to avoid typecasting)!
Daniel now. The most
aspect is his voice.

But it looks like Radcliffe will never escape this huge role as fans start to make jokes about his new film 'Woman in Black'. I saw this on Facebook last week...

"Saw Woman in Black today. I'm confused as to why Harry is afraid of a ghost yet defeated Voldemort. Why can't he just use Avada Kedavra?!"
Obviously this is only a joke. But it proves that he is definitely typecast. Will he ever escape this role? I'm still to see the film myself, but I doubt I will be able to see him in the same way. I suppose at least Daniel has tried a completely different role, unlike stars such as Jennifer Aniston (yes, Rachel from 'Friends'.) At least Radcliffe attempted to change his appearance.

Don't get my wrong, I am a huge F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan and also a fan of Jennifer Anistons (even though my favourite was always Chandler). Jennifer has probably made the most of her career after 'Friends' - what happened to David Schwimmer (Ross)?!?! and Courtney Cox (Monica) has paid for so much surgery she's unrecognisable.

Jennifer has been in many films since 2004, unfortunately 99 per cent of these are 'Rom-Coms'. Some of these films are a good watch, e.g. Marley & Me, Just Go With It and He's Just Not That Into You. But some have just disappeared into the film world...not to mention any in particular - 'The Break Up'! However, in all of these films she plays very 'Rachel-esque' characters and it's starting to get predictable. The thing is with Jennifer, she also still looks the same as she did in 'Friends' not helping with the whole typecasting experience.

Basically, as much as I love watching the classics like Harry Potter and Friends get some new actors on my screen!

Friday, 2 March 2012


Gregg and John
I absolutely love Masterchef, probably because I'm a huge 'foodie'. But when I tell people this they always seem very confused that someone of my age watches it religiously, but it inspires me. The best part is seeing the contestants put all the ingredients together to make these amazing looking dishes. It's also entertaining seeing the trainee chefs going to michelin star restaurants for their lunch service, they are well and truly thrown in the deep end. (I've also got a real guilty pleasure in the form of Gregg Wallace!)

Tim Anderson with the Masterchef
I'm not going to lie, I've never met anyone famous. The closest I've been is probably Minnie and Mickey at Disneyland! So when I heard that last years winner, Tim Anderson, was coming to Tower Bar at the student union on Monday I was amazed. I followed him throughout the whole series and he was always my firm favourite with his strange concoctions - and the fact that he was American. After finding out about this news I immediately text my fellow foodie, Grace Hutchinson. Who, like everyone else, was confused by my Masterchef fascination, but agreed to come with me anyway.

Tim's Japanese inspired three course spread
Tim's visit to the Uni was to teach the students how to be more experimental with food and to tell them that they don't just have to live off ready meals. Yet for me it was much more than this. It was to learn more from a professional, someone who I look up to in the cookery world. You probably couldn't get much more high profile than Tim (except for Jamie Oliver!)

He showed us how to cook a student favourite, Beans on Toast - or 'toast on beans' as he called it. As he demonstrated he highlighted the fact that it's not a precise dish, but agreed with the 30 strong audience on that's why it's good. Tim used fresh beans, including melt in the mouth butter beans, added to chopped tomatoes and herbs to create his version of baked beans from a tin. He toasted fresh wholemeal bread and chopped it up, added a sprinkle of olive oil and put on top of the beans. The smell that radiated through the bar was divine - although Grace and I were both gutted on finding out we couldn't test the food.

Tim struck me as a level-headed normal guy on Masterchef last year and meeting him in person confirmed this. He joked and interacted with us as if we were a group of friends at a dinner party, giving us cooking tips and sharing his knowledge. One of the biggest points I was able to take from the 'masteclass' was that I needed good equipment. Tim said. "If you're remotely interested in cooking, just buy a good knife." 

During another demonstration he joked about the "huge secret" of kebabs. Receiving huge amounts of laughter by using the phrase. "Kebabs are like sex!" The realisation hit me. After often getting a kebab on the way home from a night out, I never chose to talk about it. It's a taboo subject.

Me, Tim & Grace
After much inspiration from a few of his favourite dishes he held a question and answer session. I couldn't resist but asking him what his favourite dish to cook was. I was very intrigued when he told me the answer...'hickory smoked avocado.' A journalist was definitely right when describing Tim's "counter-intuitive pairings." Basically, weird food.

I've never been so starstruck and I'm definitely a big fan of the Americans 'weird food!'